Today we’d like to introduce you to Jahnesta Watson.
Jahnesta, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am 27 and born in Gulfport, Mississippi. I moved to Atlanta after Hurricane Katrina where I graduated high school as valedictorian of my class and later attended Clark Atlanta University. Since I was 12 years old I have always loved to cook. My late grandfather didn’t feel like men should be in the kitchen so I had to sneak to learn. I ended up cooking to pay my way through college but never thought I would start a business. The Guilty Plate Co. LLC x Chef Shaiheem is an Atlanta based catering company that began in 2016 at a point in my life where I was severely overweight and unhappy. When I began meal prepping to lose weight, my closest friend and fraternity brother, suggested that I should go into business for myself. I began simply by offering to prepare meal prep meals for people in the office where I worked at State Farm and things really just took off from there! I truly believe that I have something special in store for anyone who tries my food. I believe I was placed on this Earth to “Spread Light Through Food” and I just want everyone to experience the love I have for my craft because Feeding People is My Love Language.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been without difficulty to keep this going. I have had so many no’s before I began to hear yes. Struggles with customer loyalty and consistency. There was a point where I didn’t cook for a full seven months but something changed for me the summer of 2019. I clawed my way through a very dark place by pouring into love of food and fell in love with the art all over again. I began posting more and trying new things. I challenged myself to cook one thing I had never cooked before each week and people began to order out of nowhere.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Guilty Plate Company story. Tell us more about the business.
I specialize in a variety of cuisine styles. I am always expanding my knowledge base, trying new things, and even taking master classes to get new perspectives on dishes to which I can add my nuanced twist.
What makes me proud about my business is that it was made self sufficiently. I don’t have a team working with me. All food preparation, networking, and marketing is done completely by me. It’s a labor of love that I wouldn’t trade for one moment.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe in luck, I believe in blessings and God’s timing. I fully believe that every setback and disappointment was meant to humble and prepare me to go to higher heights. I’m so excited for all that God is doing in my life.